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Sunday Night Special: Birria de Chivo


It’s fall freezer cleaning time, which means going through all the crap that’s accumulated in both of them (yes, two) since lord knows when and no, not tossing it, cooking it. Maybe I’ll get food poisoned but it looks like I won’t need to buy any proteins (ew, I hate it when chefs and whoever else use that unappetizing term) for a couple weeks. Here’s the gruesome break down:

-Pork ribs were grilled Saturday night
-Chicken wings were buffalo-ized Sunday afternoon
-Lamb roast will become mutton kolhapuri (from a mix—we also have enough dried and canned goods to last into 2008)
-Lamb chops will be barbecued yueyang style
-Beef roast will be turned into rending
-Ground beef will transform into American hard shell tacos with cheddar cheese and lettuce
-Ground pork? I’m not sure yet, maybe ma po tofu

I also found a bag of cheese curds I bought in Montreal Labor Day weekend ’06. Sad as it makes me, I’m not sure how great year-old frozen cheese is. They do sell curds in the neighborhood so my eventual poutine experiment won’t be a total bust.

[written on Sunday] But presently, I’m only concerned with the goat chunks I’m turning into birria this evening. I went with a Rick Bayless recipe, but quickly realized I had the wrong cut of meat. I have bone-in hunks made for stewing while he requires a five-pound solid mass of meat. I’m not sure how well the steaming approach will work with my tougher bits of goat.

[back to the past tense] Well, it succeeded in using up freezer meat and a bag of guajillo chiles that have been neglected for months, but didn’t quite succeed as an amazingly tasty meal. You’re supposed to skim fat from the broth but there didn’t even appear to be any broth; it all looked like orange oil. I did what I could to clean it up. The flavor was there but the meat was like jerky. I almost lost a tooth. Americans seem to hate goat meat, and this use of the gamey flesh would only succeed in scaring most people further. I’ve only eaten birria once in Chicago so I’m hardly a connoisseur, but wrong is wrong. Lesson learned: do not attempt to steam stew meat.

At least my evening was salvaged by the pretty as a pastel rainbow mithai I picked up at Dehli Palace earlier in the day. I love their box decorated with photo collage of the goods.


Clearly, there is no throwing out of food in my household, so I shouldn’t have been surprised that while James was home sick yesterday that he attempted salvaging the birria. After sitting in the refrigerator overnight, the fat had congealed enough to easily remove. That was a start, and then he stewed the whole thing within an inch of its life (after giving up on steaming, I let the meaty bones cook in the broth for about an hour the night before to no avail). And it succeeded. I had un-bad birria waiting for me when I came home from work. A squeeze of lime and a few corn tortillas enhanced the new and improved meal. I didn’t take any photos of round two, though.

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